2006: A Truly Tragic Year for Summer Blockbusters
Trade news has been rampant with tales of a slow summer in terms of box office. This is by no means unprecedented and reasons for this are myriad. But let’s step away from the 2016 returns and go back 10 years. To a little year called 2006.
I came across this hindsightedly adorable article on CNN looking forward to the big movies of the summer. And bless their hearts.
Hopes are high (then again they always are in Tinseltown) for a box office and attendance upswing this year. And there is reason to think that this summer could be a bonanza for Hollywood.
Sony (Research) appears to have a surefire hit on its hands with the film version of the runaway best selling novel, “The Da Vinci Code.” Walt Disney (Research) hopes to replicate the success it had in 2003, when it released Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” and the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, with the latest Pixar film “Cars” and the sequel to “Pirates.”
Other sequels that could be fan favorites are “X-Men: The Last Stand” from News Corp.’s (Research) Fox and the long-awaited “Superman Returns” from Time Warner’s (Research) Warner Bros. studio. (Time Warner also owns CNNMoney.com.)
DaVinci Code, the second Pirates of the Caribbean, Superman Returns and the worst X-Men movie, which is quite the bar? What the hell did we even do summer 2006? Stay in and knit?
These movies all made money. Tons of it. But they’re not exactly remembered lovingly. Luckily, we weren’t without other options.
There is the potential for some sleeper hits as well.
Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Co, said one such contender is “Snakes on a Plane,” a movie that’s exactly what you’d expect it to be about. Samuel L. Jackson stars as a passenger on a plane full of deadly snakes. (We are not making this up.) The movie, to be released by Time Warner’s New Line studio, has already attracted a lot of buzz on various movie blogs.
He said another wildcard is Mel Gibson’s new movie. His follow-up to “The Passion of the Christ” is another film that, at first blush, doesn’t seem like blockbuster material. It is called “Apocalypto” and is being billed as an action-adventure film about the end of the Mayan empire. Like “Passion” it will feature subtitles; the cast of “Apocalypto” will be speaking in a Mayan dialect known as Yucatec.
Pandya said “Click,” a comedy starring Adam Sandler about a guy who discovers a remote control that allows him to fast forward and rewind to certain times in his life, should stand out among all the big action movies.
Dergarabedian added that “Lady in the Water,” the latest film from M. Night Shyamalan, who wrote and directed “The Sixth Sense” and “Signs,” could be a hit. But Shyamalan’s last movie, “The Village” did not live up to expectations.
Remember that magical time when we all thought Snakes on a Plane would sweep the goddamn nation? Remember when Mel Gibson was allowed to exist despite us all knowing he was completely unhinged? Remember when hope still existed for Shyamalan? Remember Click?
I do. I do. The hate still sears my soul.
For what it’s worth, the eggs did not deserve their place in Hollywood’s basket. Apocalypto would go on to make only $50 million domestic, $69 million foreign. Lady in the Water made $72 million total. Snakes on a Plane, $62 million.
And Click? The worst of the bunch? $237 million. I understand nothing.
This article does not mention one major box office butt whimper of 2006, but Poseidon came out that summer. With a $160 million budget, it only pulled in $60 million domestically (though it eventually made it back with foreign tickets). Because apparently way more people clamored to see Adam Sandler make Henry Winkler cry than watch Kurt Russell drown in real-time. Damn that was a rough summer. It also brought us Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, the Wayans Brothers’ Little Man, Nacho Libre, Accepted and it closed out…with The Wicker Man.
But it gave us one magical thing: the movie Step Up and therefore Channing Tatum.
As for why we stay away from the theater, CNN has some possibilities.
Younger people have more entertainment options these days — they can listen to their iPods, chat away on MySpace and play games on their Xbox 360. And finally, some argue that a slew of mediocre movies are keeping people away from theaters.
I love the past. The past is precious.
Anyway, let’s close out with the most fitting song—2006’s biggest hit. May it stick in your heads like sad toilet paper to a tragic shoe.